Friday, January 19, 2007

Reader Comment from Fred Marshall

Submitted to the Concord Monitor (bet they won't print it):

Reading various accounts of the Ed and Elaine Brown saga in several newspapers, I suspect that most of them were either written for the papers by the PR department of the IRS, or at least edited by them. The slant is just too great to be genuine or unbiased.

What happened in the Brown court is not unlike what happens in hundreds of tax cases tried around the country every day. Pre-trial motions are heard by the judge before the jury is brought in. The judge disallows whatever the prosecutor doesn't want the defense to present, i.e., anything the prosecutor cannot counter.


Read more here.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Quatloos said...

Editorial
The right tax verdict: Payment not optional
Concord Monitor staff
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 19. 2007 8:00AM

Edward and Elaine Brown, the Plainfield couple who have not paid federal income taxes for nearly a decade, are right to hate the U.S. tax code.

Like a coral reef, the 20,000-plus-page code was built by accretion. It is the incomprehensible product of some well-meaning attempts to direct social policy and many self-serving efforts by politicians to reward friends for personal or political gain.

But even though the tax code is an abomination, it's also the law.

The Browns, who were convicted yesterday of numerous counts of tax evasion, broke that law repeatedly and now must suffer the consequences. In Ed Brown's case, we hope the consequences don't include paying with his life. We especially hope he or his supporters, in defense of their views, don't take the lives of anyone else.

As we write, the retired exterminator and a small group of people who agree with his position are holed up at his Plainfield home. Attempts to remove him, Brown warns, will result in a shootout. Elaine Brown surrendered before the verdict and was ordered not to return home. Law enforcement agencies are negotiating with Brown and reportedly have no plans to assault his fortified house.

Like many tax protesters, the Browns base their refusal to pay on novel interpretations of tax law. Nothing in the law compels them to pay federal income taxes, they say, because payment is voluntary. They also say that the federal government has no authority to levy an income tax in New Hampshire and that income from personal labor cannot be taxed. And they argue that Elaine Brown's dental practice earnings are not subject to New Hampshire's business profits tax because the couple's home is on some sort of federal enclave.

Self-serving legal theories like those cited by the Browns are espoused on internet sites and promoted in books by anti-tax militants. Many of them have been tested by the U.S. Supreme Court. Invariably, they fail.

The IRS makes it easy to find scores of pages of information debunking the most common arguments, including the contention that filing a tax return and paying taxes are voluntary. The use of "voluntary" refers only to the ability of taxpayers to list their income and calculate their bills themselves. Filing a return and paying the taxes owed on that income are not voluntary.

The IRS website lists court rulings that confirm its position. But the Browns, and those who take a similar position, reject evidence that conflicts with their personal interpretations of the law.

The Browns may honestly believe that they're right, but determining what a law says or the Constitution means is for the courts, not for citizens.

The Browns should pay everything they owe plus the appropriate IRS penalties. They should also receive prison sentences like those given to similar tax evaders.

The Plainfield protesters and others who fail to file are not heroes or martyrs. They're just people who, blinded by their own rationalizations, are cheating the rest of us.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Quatloos said...

P.S. -- Great press that Ed Brown is getting; please keep it up. Also, pass along thanks for saving the U.S. Marshal Service the cost of keeping in in home detention as he has self-detained himself.

2:57 PM  

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